Samsung Takes On Flip With New Camera Lineup

While Samsung has been making waves lately in netbooks and smartphones, the company has also just announced some new toys for camera buffs--namely, three camcorders, one of which (the HMX-U10) is directly positioned to challenge the Pure Digital Flip UltraHD, and two consumer point-and-shoot cameras.

Samsung HMX-U10

On the camcorder side are the compact HMX-U10, the SMX-K40, and the SMX-K45. The latter two look like fairly standard consumer-level camcorders. For starters, they record at 720 by 480 standard definition but can upscale to HD when outputting via the HDMI port (cable not included, unfortunately), and they sport a 52X-optical-zoom lens supplemented by a 65X "Intelli-zoom" digital zoom function. The K45 has a 32GB solid-state drive that can hold up to 20 hours, 40 minutes of footage depending on the recording quality; the K40 records onto an SD or SDHC card. The K40 and K45 will retail for $330 and $500, respectively, and they'll be available in August.

The HMX-U10, meanwhile, looks poised to catch the eye of anyone considering a Flip purchase. Capable of recording in full HD (1920 by 1080) as well as taking 10-megapixel still photos, it weighs only 95 grams (about 0.2 pound) with the battery and boasts a 2-inch LCD screen. It also has a handful of features that make it particularly interesting to YouTube mavens, such as an 'Upload to YouTube' button, and it borrows from the Samsung SMX-C10/C14 design by tilting the lens at a 7-degree angle, which purportedly helps minimize arm and wrist strain compared with holding a camcorder straight up. All that will cost you only $200, though you'll need to bring your own SD/SDHC card since the HMX-U10 has no on-board storage. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait for it: The HMX-U10 won't be available until September.

Meanwhile, people looking for a point-and-shoot still camera on a budget will be intrigued by the SL720 and SL502, which will cost $230 and $150, respectively. Both models have 12.2-megapixel image sensors, a 5X-optical-zoom lens, and facial-recognition features that haven't been seen on Samsung's SL line until now.

Samsung SL720

Forking over the extra $80 for the SL720 (pictured above) will get you a 3-inch LCD instead of the SL502's 2.7-incher, a 28mm wide-angle lens instead of the SL502's standard 35mm one, the capacity to record video in 720p high definition, and both optical and digital image stabilization (the SL502 has only digital image stabilization). Folks with a fatter wallet and shaky hands will probably opt for the SL720. Both cameras will be available in August; stay tuned for our full reviews, which we'll post once we get our hands on the cameras. In the meantime, check out our reviews of the Sony Cybershot DSC-S980 and the Pure Digital Flip UltraHD to see what the Samsung products are competing with.

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